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Guide to Hiking at Sam Houston National Forest

Guide to Hiking at Sam Houston National Forest

The Sam Houston National Forest is one of the most popular hiking spots near Lake Conroe. This 163,037-acre forest is located 20 miles away from Lake Conroe and 60 miles away from Houston. It also shares the land with the counties of Montgomery, San Jacinto, and Walker.

If you’re thinking about hiking in the Sam Houston National Forest, here are the important things that you need to know:

How to get to the Sam Houston National Forest

The Forest Ranger Station, which is the main office of this national forest, is also the starting point for your hike. Once you get to the ranger station, you will be provided with a map of the whole forest. To get to the Forest Ranger Station, take the Interstate 45 North Freeway and exit at 102. You’ll end up on FM 1375, which will lead you straight to the Forest Ranger Station.

Hiking trails

Known for being a National Recreation Trail, the Lone Star Hiking Trail is a challenging path that’s 128 miles long. If you want to access part of the trail by car, there are 15 trailheads that are car-friendly. Don’t worry about getting lost while trekking in the Lone Star Hiking Trail; there are mile markers planted throughout the trail and directions tagged on specific trees.

During your hike, you’ll see a wide variety of plants, trees, wildlife, and bodies of water. Some of the most frequently spotted fauna are deer, squirrels, quails, doves, and even red-cockaded woodpeckers.

In the Lone Star Hiking Trail, you’ll find three major sections:

  • West section – The longest section of three, this 40-mile trail has four loops linked together and passes through the Stubblefield Campground. As you journey along this trail, you’ll be treated to scenic views of the majestic Lake Conroe.
  • Central section – Throughout this 60-mile trail, you’ll pass a number of areas such as the Stubblefield Recreational Area, the Evergreen community in the San Jacinto County, and the Four Notch Loop. This loop is 9.2 miles long and is surrounded by towering pine trees.
  • East section/ Winters Bayou section – If you’re coming from the west side of the Lone Star Trail, the Winters Bayou Section will be your last stop of the trail. This 27-mile area of the Lone Star Hiking Trail is filled with creeks, bayous, magnolia trees, and hilly areas.


If you’re thinking about pitching a tent in the middle of the woods, you can hike to the designated camping spots in the forest. The Sam Houston National Forest currently has three full-service campgrounds: Cagle, Double Lake, and Stubblefield. Camping in these three campgrounds is only prohibited during deer hunting season, during which you’ll have to camp off-trail.

When to go

While the Lone Star Hiking Trail is open all-year-round, the best time to go would be during the spring or winter seasons due to the mild and calm weather. If you’re planning to hike during deer season, it’s best to wear bright and visible clothing.

The Sam Houston National Forest is just one of the many outdoor recreation areas near Lake Conroe. Learn more about what Lake Conroe has to offer by calling Katherine Maher at 936-525-0095 or sending an email to Katherine(at)lakeconroe(dotted)com.